Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer may be adamant about the fact that he plans to filibuster President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. However, it remains to be seen whether he even has the votes to make that a reality.
Schumer’s margin became even slimmer on Sunday, when Politico reported Indiana Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly formally said he would be backing Gorsuch to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court bench.
“After meeting with Judge Gorsuch, conducting a thorough review of his record, and closely following his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe that he is a qualified jurist who will base his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers,” Sen. Donnelly said in a statement, according to The Daily Caller.
“I was deeply disappointed by the way the most recent Supreme Court nominee, Judge Garland, was treated by the Senate, but as senator, I can only vote on the nominee that comes to the Senate floor. However, I believe that we should keep the current 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees.”
He did make it clear, however, that he would not support a filibuster.
Donnelly becomes the third senator to officially defect from the Democrat ranks, along with North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. All three do have something in common — they’re up for re-election in 2018 in states where Donald Trump won bigly.
However, a fourth senator who fits that same bill — Montana’s John Tester — said he’d be voting against Gorsuch.
“I cannot support a nominee who refuses to answer important questions,” Tester said, apparently forgetting the fact that he endured three days of marathon questioning.
Gorsuch’s confirmation vote will likely come to the Senate floor Tuesday, with a cloture vote scheduled for Friday. Politico’s estimate is that at the moment, Schumer only has 37 Democrats who will vote against cloture.
And, even if he does manage to get the three additional votes he needs to filibuster, the nuclear option is still available. So, even if Schumer “wins,” he still loses. A sobering thought for the Democrats when you consider how much political capital the minority leader has put into it.
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